V. I.   Lenin


To:   Y. M. SVERDLOV[1]

Written: Written on February 9, 1913
Published: First published in 1923 in the book Iz epokhi “Zvezdy” i “Pravdy” (1911–14), Part III. Sent from Cracow to St. Petersburg. Printed from the typewritten copy found in police records.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, [1976], Moscow, Volume 35, pages 78-80.
Translated: Andrew Rothstein
Transcription\Markup: R. Cymbala
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive.   You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work, as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.README

To Comrade Andrei, and if he is not in Petersburg, then to Nos. 3, 6 and others.[2]

Dear Friend,

I was extremely sorry to hear that you consider that Vasily exaggerates the importance of Dyen.[3] In reality the key to the situation at present is precisely Dyen and the way it is run. Unless we secure a reform and proper management in this field, we shall reach bankruptcy, both material and political. Dyen is the necessary means of organisation for uniting and lifting up the movement. Only through this means can now come the necessary influx of people and resources for what you indicate. Things are bad in Petersburg primarily because Dyen is bad, and we are unable to make, or the board of “editors” there prevents us making use of Dyen.

At one kopek a month 25,000 will provide 250 rubles. Remember without fail that there are no other sources at all. The whole situation in general will now depend on the outcome of the struggle with the liquidators in Petersburg. That is clear. And this struggle can be decided only by the proper management of Dyen. If it is true that Nos. 1 and 3, or 3 and 6, are for caution in reforming Dyen, i.e., for delay in expelling the present editors and office staff, this is very sad. We repeat: this smells of bankruptcy. We must   seriously come to agreement and set about reforming Dyen. (1) We need accounts made up to the last kopek. (2) Has No. 1 had a letter about this? (3) Have you read this letter? (4) You must take the cash (revenue and subscriptions) into your own hands. (5) Will this be done, and when will it be done? (6) It is essential to put in our own editorial board of Dyen and throw out the present one. Work is thoroughly bad at present, the boosting of the Bundist liquidators (Zeit) and the non-Social-Democrat Jagiello is an absolute disgrace. The absence of a campaign for unity from below is stupid and base. They keep silent about unity on Vasilyevsky Island, about the liquidators’ refusal, they don’t know how to reply to No. 101 of Luch[4] or to their reply: are such people editors? They are not people, but wretched wet-rags and wreckers of the cause.

The use made of Dyen for keeping the class-conscious workers informed and reporting their work (the Petersburg Committee particularly) is beneath all criticism. You must put an end to the so-called autonomy of these editorial failures. You must set about it before all else. You should install yourself in “sanctuary” with No. 1. Put in a telephone. Take the editorial board into your own hands. Draw in assistants. You on your own—with some of these people as pure executives—given our work from here, can fully cope with the job. If this is well organised, there will also be a revival in the work of the Petersburg Committee, which is ridiculously inept, incapable of saying a word, lets every occasion for a statement go by. And it ought to be making a statement almost daily in legal form (in the name of “influential workers”, etc.) and at least once or twice a month illegally. Once again, the key to the whole situation is Dyen. Here it is possible to conquer, and then (only then) organise the local work as well. Otherwise everything will collapse.

You should wail, so far as a Moscow paper is concerned. But No. 3 and his two colleagues should publish a letter immediately. Their delay is unforgivable. They should come out immediately, take up their position, declare that this is our affair—the affair of those three—that they are in charge (otherwise the liquidators will elbow them out). Much has already been lost, hurry.

So a statement must be made. Why shouldn’t No. 3, too, be a publisher? What in general is the distribution o! duties between Nos. 1, 3, 6 and their immediate friends? Has there been a report? Is there complete agreement?


[1] This letter deals with the state of affairs in the Pravda editorial office at the end of 1912 and the beginning of 1913. The “February” Conference of the C.C. of the R.S.D.L.P. and Party workers in Cracow in 1913 prescribed measures for improving the editors’ work.

[2] Members of the Bolshevik group in the Fourth Duma were referred to by their “numbers” for purposes of secrecy. No. 1 was A. Y. Badayev, No. 3—R. V. Malinovsky, and No. 6—G. I. Petrovsky.

[3] Dyen (The Day)—cover name for Pravda.

[4] Lenin refers to a leading article “The Working Masses and the Underground” published in the Menshevik liquidators’ paper Luch No. 15 (101), January 19, 1913. It was aimed against the Party’s illegal work. This liquidationist sally was exposed by Lenin in his article “To the Social-Democrats”, published as a hectographed leaflet in Cracow (see present edition, Vol. 18, pp. 529–31).

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